Healthcare Expert: Congress Should Subpoena White House for Obamacare Numbers

Image: Healthcare Expert: Congress Should Subpoena White House for Obamacare Numbers Narendra Parmar, right, talks to an Obamacare enrollment specialist at a Miami Enrollment Assistance Center on Dec. 23.

Monday, 30 Dec 2013 06:24 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The end-of-year statistics released by the White House do not give a clear picture of how well Obamacare is working. Congress needs to subpoena the missing data and also to request statistics from the insurance industry, writes Avik Roy, a contributor to Forbes.com and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

The released figures did not indicate whether insurers had actually received premium payments — the only certain confirmation of actual coverage, according to Roy.

Nor was it clear if a mechanism exists in the healthcare.gov system to pay insurers.

Other missing data, such as the share of healthy and young people signing up, could help clarify whether Obamacare has the potential of becoming cost effective, Roy noted.

The White House announced Sunday that 975,000 Americans had enrolled in the federal healthcare marketplace during December for a total of 1.1 million signed up in the initial enrollment phase, the Washington Post reported.

Some 200,000 people selected health plans on Dec. 23 or 24, far outnumbering the approximately 137,000 enrollees who registered through healthcare.gov during October and November, the Post reported.

All told, some 2 million uninsured Americans, including those who lost their existing coverage under the Affordable Care Act, have signed up via the federal HealthCare.gov site or through state marketplaces, officials said.

The figure falls short of the 3.3 million people who had been expected to register by the end of 2013, according to earlier Department of Health and Human Services projections.

By March 31, 2014 up to 7 million more enrollments are expected. After then the uninsured will face a tax penalty.

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